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Proceedings Paper

Artificial spider: eight-legged arachnid and autonomous learning of locomotion
Author(s): Nabil I. Alshurafa; Justin T. Harmon
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Paper Abstract

Evolution has produced organisms whose locomotive agility and adaptivity mock the difficulty faced by robotic scientists. The problem of locomotion, which nature has solved so well, is surprisingly complex and difficult. We explore the ability of an artificial eight-legged arachnid, or animat, to autonomously learn a locomotive gait in a three-dimensional environment. We take a physics-based approach at modeling the world and the virtual body of the animat. The arachnid-like animat learns muscular control functions using simulated annealing techniques, which attempts to maximize forward velocity and minimize energy expenditure. We experiment with varying the weight of these parameters and the resulting locomotive gaits. We perform two experiments in which the first is a naive physics model of the body and world which uses point-masses and idealized joints and muscles. The second experiment is a more realistic simulation using rigid body elements with distributed mass, friction, motors, and mechanical joints. By emphasizing physical aspects we wish to minimize, a number of interesting gaits emerge.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 May 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6230, Unmanned Systems Technology VIII, 62301E (12 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.666491
Show Author Affiliations
Nabil I. Alshurafa, Univ. of California/Los Angeles (United States)
Justin T. Harmon, Univ. of California/Los Angeles (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6230:
Unmanned Systems Technology VIII
Grant R. Gerhart; Charles M. Shoemaker; Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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